Discover who's who in Alp Haydar's world

Cabaret artist Alp Haydar offers a newbies’ guide to his recurring characters

Video-interactive one-man pantomime pioneer Alp Haydar plays four Thursdays at the RVT beginning July 12: there’s a chance to catch his last show, ‘Alp Haydar’s New Vagina’; then the premiere of his latest, ‘Alp Haydar’s Sharia Law’ (July 19 and 26); then, on Aug 2, he revisits the show before ‘Vagina’, ‘Alp Haydar’s Erotic Adventures in Atlantis’ as part of the BURN: Moving Images by Cabaret Artists event in the Hot August Fringe.

We spoke to Alp about his work and asked him for a newbies’ guide to his recurring characters. With the aid of basic greenscreen technology, he plays them all, including a version of himself…

Alp Haydar

‘Once a jaunty teen actor idolised by prepubescent girls, Alp now lives in his mother’s north London attic, washed up and disillusioned with his gay second-generation immigrant identity. Filming saucy YouTube videos against a makeshift green screen, he medicates his isolation with the validation of Facebook friends. Perhaps the victim of his own cabaret success, Alp (winner of the Time Out Audience Award in the London Cabaret Awards 2012) is stuck in a video loop of his own creation, hollow canned laughter seeming to play continually as he struggles with themes of gender and masculinity, on stage, for a mere £7…’

Sharia Law

‘Alp’s nemesis, and often a cruel truth-teller, his ultra-conservative mother has proved a worthy adversary to her sexually deviant son. Plotting and scheming as only the best net-curtain-twitching immigrant mother can, we’ve seen her fool Alp into getting on a plane for an arranged Turkish marriage, imprison him to administer electric shock therapy and masquerade as a doctor in the hope that gender reassignment surgery might cure her son of his ‘fudgepackery’. In my latest show, we look behind the papier-mâché mask and explore her early life, discovering what made Sharia Law so (funda)mental.’


‘The jihadist suicide-bomber Alp first met on a plane to Bermuda, Mohammed is Alp’s love interest and, in a perfect narcissistic twist, a reflection of his own sexual identity – both lover and imagined straight counterpart. Alp and Mohammed have fornicated their way through the Bermuda triangle, the mythical island of Atlantis and the giddy heights of Wood Green. Things came to a head in my last show, ‘Alp Haydar’s New Vagina’, when Mohammed got married, prompting Alp to disguise himself in his wife’s burka with unfortunate results. Though he’s still Alp’s love interest in the new show, things hang in the balance.’

Jeffrey and Sandra

‘When I started filming scenes for my live shows, I struggled for a lack of wigs, props and talent for voices… so I decided to have the same two characters play every bit part. Puffed-up Jeffrey and simpering Sandra now have beefier roles, even spawning a squeaky-voiced son, Johnny, whom Sharia unceremoniously castrated in the last show. Having played the last two remaining Atlanteans in ‘Alp Haydar’s Erotic Adventures in Atlantis’, the sexually dysfunctional bickering couple find themselves married again in my new show, as high-ranking BNP politicians who take in pregnant immigrant Sharia as their new nanny…’

‘Alp Haydar’s New Vagina’, Thur July 12; ‘Alp Haydar’s Sharia Law’, July 19 & 26; ‘Alp Haydar’s Erotic Adventures in Atlantis’ (as part of BURN in the Hot August Fringe), Aug 2; all at the RVT.